Another school year begins – and already for Auckland a three day holiday has interrupted the school year! Let’s hope that 2021 is not as disruptive to schooling as the past year was. The transition to working from home for parents and including time in the day to home school and organize children has no doubt created extra stress in many families.

Now that the kids are back at school it’s a timely reminder to look at how well their backpacks are packed and how they are carrying them.

Here’s a few points to consider:

  1. The total weight of the back pack should be no more than 10-15% of the child’s weight. Carrying a backpack that is too heavy may lead to muscle strains and back pain.
  2. Wear the backpack correctly. Use both shoulder straps and fit the pack to rest evenly in the middle of the back, not down on the buttocks. Extra leaning to one side using only one strap may strain the neck and shoulders.
  3. Balance the weight. Put the heavier items closest to the spine. This is usually the laptop. If there is a waist strap, use it to help disperse the weight.
  4. Encourage safe habits to help reduce the risk of unnecessary strain.
    – Don’t carry around all your books at school; use a locker if possible.
    – Take care when you pick the backpack up to put on your shoulders.
    – Bring home only the books you need for homework or study to minimize carrying around extra weight.
    – Watch for signs of strain – like tight shoulders and back muscles.

If you’re concerned about how heavy your child’s backpack is and the impact that it may be having on their spine and posture, please contact me and we can arrange to have a check up in the office.

Have a great school year everyone.